6th Edition

The Sociological Quest An Introduction to the Study of Social Life

By Haydn Aarons, Evan Willis Copyright 2023
    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    188 Pages
    by Routledge

    Starting Sociology can be daunting. This user-friendly introduction takes the reader on a quest towards a sociological understanding of the world we live in. Using contemporary examples, The Sociological Quest asks what is distinctive about the way Sociologists view society. Haydn Aarons and Evan Willis show that they are concerned with the relationships between the individual and society, and that a sociological analysis involves an approach which is historical, cultural, structural, and critical.

    This sixth edition has been thoroughly revised and updated and includes new material on identities, social change, social movements, populism, climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, digital interaction, and social media. Also included in the sixth edition is an expanded chapter on empirical research in Sociology and the research process, as well as a new chapter on careers in Sociology.

    1. Introduction

    2. The nature of sociological explanation

    3. Sociology's place in the academy

    4. The sociological imagination

    5. Structure and critique

    6. The social and the biological world

    7. Theory and method

    8. How do we know?

    9. Doing Sociology (and getting paid for it): careers and applications


    Haydn Aarons is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. He has been teaching and researching in Sociology for over twenty years. He has published widely on a range of sociological topics including religion, health, rural communities, cultural consumption, and quantitative research methods.

    Evan Willis is Adjunct Professor of Public Health at La Trobe University, Australia. He has had a long and distinguished career as a researcher and teacher in Sociology. His book, Medical Dominance: The Division of Labour in Australian Health Care (Routledge, 1989), was winner of the Australian Sociological Association Award in 2003 for the Ten Most Influential Books in Sociology.

    'The Sociological Quest provides an up-to-date, clear and comprehensive account of modern sociology: where did it comes from, what does it do, where is it going? Sociology often offers explanation of society and social change that are challenging and critical. In that context, Willis and Aarons invite students to join them on an exciting quest into what makes society tick and how we can best understand the social problems confronting individuals and societies. Through the sociological imagination, sociologists address fundamental issues about what makes societies successful or unsuccessful.'

    Bryan S. Turner, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Religion, Politics and Society at the Australian Catholic University, Australia, Honorary Professor and Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Social Pluralism and Religious Diversity at Potsdam University, Germany, and Emeritus Professor at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York City (CUNY), USA

    'This slim volume is written in the tradition of Mills’s (1959) famous introduction to the discipline, The Sociological Imagination. Like Mills, coauthors Haydn Aarons and Evan Willis invite students to take up sociology as a distinctive way to understand ourselves and the world in which we live. Now in its sixth international edition, The Sociological Quest: An Introduction to the Study of Social Life encourages students to begin to think sociologically, in other words, understanding humans as fundamentally social beings. Sociological explanations of human life strive to situate individuals within different groups and then to systematically explore relationships among groups. In this way, sociology can help us understand how “private troubles” are related to “public issues,” as Mills put it… Overall, The Sociological Quest is an ambitious and elegantly presented introduction to sociological thinking, which will be most useful for Introduction to Sociology classes at the undergraduate level.'

    Elaine Coburn, Associate Professor of International Studies and Director of the Centre for Feminist Research, York University, Canada, ‘Book Review: The Sociological Quest: An Introduction to the Study of Social Life’, Teaching Sociology, (Vol. 51, No. 4)